Should I take the StrengthsFinder assessment again?

The simple answer? No. According to the Gallup website:


Your first completion of the Clifton StrengthsFinder will yield the purest and most revealing results. For this reason, each Clifton StrengthsFinder access code is valid for only one use to take the assessment.


Taking the Clifton StrengthsFinder more than once may actually decrease the accuracy of your results. The Clifton StrengthsFinder measures the presence of talents by presenting you with a pair of statements, then challenging you to make a top-of-mind choice between the two. The 20-second time limit and your unfamiliarity with the statements ensure your assessment’s accuracy by making it difficult to over-think your responses.


At CoreClarity, we agree with Gallup on this issue. Once you have taken the assessment, you know too much to take it again in an objective fashion.


Regardless if you remember the specific statements or not, your brain has an understanding of how the assessment works. This can affect your top of mind answer, which is where our talents are triggered. In addition, in cases where someone gets a talent that they don’t want the first time, their subconscious may even skew their subsequent results away from something that could be a very powerful, undeveloped gift.


Some people change jobs after they take the assessment and the new job may require different skill sets and ways of working, so they believe they need to take the assessment again to reflect their new way of being.


In this instance, if you think of it like handedness most people have a dominant hand. It is the one they tend to use easily, naturally and extremely effectively. If you are right-handed, even if you break your right arm, you’re still right-handed. You might just use your left hand more effectively than the right one for a while, but the dominant hand is still the dominant hand!


From a scientific perspective, both Gallup and CoreClarity believe that our talents are based on the synaptic connections in the brain. Although the skills/knowledge/experience that gets added to the core talents will vary over time, the foundational connections still exist. So, a situation might favor using our talents very powerfully or it may not support using our talents at all. But those talents are still there, and they are the elemental building blocks that are the source of our greatest strengths.

Is there anything that might skew the initial results or precipitate a need to retake the assessment?

There are a few exceptions that can skew the initial results or precipitate a need to retake the assessment:


  1. Pregnancy. There is documented proof that a woman’s brain undergoes significant change during pregnancy. The rewiring of the brain and the influx of powerful hormones during pregnancy and after birth help prepare a woman to become a mother. If the assessment is taken during this time, the results may be different than they would have been before the pregnancy or even six months after birth.
  2. Brain Trauma. A physiological change to the brain itself through injury or disease. If some of your main synaptic connections are affected, your talents will most likely change.
  3. Traumatic Life Events. If a person takes the assessment while they are going through a painful or distressing event, there is a likelihood that their answers could be negatively impacted by the emotional upheaval they are currently experiencing. The following events might qualify as traumatic life events:


Loss of a loved one through death or divorce

Loss of health

Loss of a job


If one of these applies to you and you have taken the assessment multiple times, we recommend looking at the initial assessment results first. Go through each talent, one-by-one, and validate the talent’s existence or not. (A coach or loved one may be needed to help you look at this objectively.)


Next, look at subsequent results and compare them to the initial results. Question why certain talents are missing. Also try to validate the existence of new talents. When you look at activities associated with these talents, does the thought of using them give you energy or drain you? Often, some of the differences in subsequent assessment results may sound exciting, but when we think about immersing ourselves in the activities that support that talent, our energy goes down significantly.


Ultimately the objective is to understand our inherent talents and then begin to apply them in the most effective manner possible.

Why don't the CoreClarity and StrengthsFinder categories match?

The two sets of categories are from two different perspectives. CoreClarity has modified the original set which was published in the Gallup book Follow This Path in 2002, and they are organized based on how you experience your own talents. The second set was published in 2009 in the book Strengths Based Leadership, which talks about why people follow you, so these categories are about how others perceive the talents in you. Until people understand this distinction, it can be confusing to have two different sets of categories out there! There may be more differentiations in the future, who knows?